Van Winkle: It is our time to lead

Tags: van winkle, congress of delegates

In less than two weeks, the AAFP Congress of Delegates will elect a new slate of officers and three members to serve on the AAFP Board of Directors. TAFP has a candidate in this year’s Board of Directors race—Castroville family physician Lloyd Van Winkle, M.D.—and we’re gearing up to support him in Philadelphia.

A quick brief on our national academy, the membership of the Congress of Delegates, AAFP’s policy-making body, consists of two delegates from each state chapter plus spots for special constituencies, family medicine residents, and medical students. During the two-and-a-half days of meetings, each of the six reference committees (Advocacy, Bylaws, Education, Health of the Public and Science, Organization and Finance, and Practice Enhancement) will hold hearings open to all AAFP members, current officers will give speeches, board members and commissions will present reports, and delegates will consider resolutions.

The election will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 17, with voting early in the morning and results revealed before noon.

Dr. Van Winkle started out in solo private practice in Castroville in 1985, and he added a second physician to the practice in 2000. He sees patients 45 hours a week, providing comprehensive care including newborn, ICU, and hospice care, and he did obstetrics for the first decade of his practice. He has served as a preceptor for medical students for over 20 years, serves as the medical director for his community’s EMS, and is president of the ambulatory research network STARNet.

Whether his ability to lead so effectively comes from his experience in a rural setting, innate aptitude for leadership, or capability to connect with others with his calm, stately demeanor, he got involved early through his local chapter and then at TAFP. He is a TAFP past president and currently chairs the TAFP Political Action Committee. He was named TAFP’s Texas Family Physician of the Year in 2010. At AAFP, he has served as a delegate and alternate delegate to the Congress of Delegates for the past 10 years and has served on an AAFP commission and chaired an AAFP committee.

As he explains in his personal statement for the office, the theme of his candidacy is “time.” As time has passed, medicine has changed and he has been changed by his practice experience. He has watched AAFP leaders in their time share their vision for the future of family medicine. They were chosen to lead by their fellow family physicians who all share a commitment to their patients and the knowledge of the joys and sorrows that come with all stages of life.

There comes a time when it is time to act, he says, and family physicians must step up to make positive changes in our health care system. The time to act is now; it is our time to lead.

“I have been so very fortunate to be at the right place at the right time at every step along the journey that has been my life as a family physician. It has given me so much in so many ways.

“Now is the time to give back. Now is the time to be of one mind and speak with one voice. Now is the time to shout the words that will bring the future of medicine into being: A future of health care which is patient-centered and based on family medicine, a future where all patients will have access to care from their own family doctor in their own family medical home, a future of healthy patients and healthy practices.”

Five candidates are running for three Board of Director spots, and AAFP has set up a forum where members can learn about all candidates for leadership. Go to (members only) to view their biography pages and link to the Question and Answer Forum.

As he strives to join the ranks of fellow Texas family physicians who have made a tremendous impact on the national stage—Roland Goertz, M.D.; Leah Raye Mabry, M.D.; Jim Martin, M.D.; Glen Johnson, M.D., Sam Nixon, M.D., and so many others—TAFP stands behind Dr. Van Winkle and we wish him the best of luck.

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